Gamification is a relatively new term that refers to the integration of game dynamics into any aspect of business.  Its main objectives are to drive participation, increase awareness of the business, and draw in new customers.  Here a few ways to get started.

  • Use a service designed to track your customers’ loyalty.  A great place to begin is Badgeville, a “social loyalty platform” that gives businesses the “power to drive and measure user behavior with social game mechanics.”  Badgeville provides a step by step process to help you set an objective, choose which behaviors to track, and create real-time user rewards.  This is similar to the way FourSquare works, except you get to create your own system.  The advantage here is that you can truly tailor your game to the needs and wants of your customer base.
  • Gamify your team’s professional development.  Big businesses, such as Google, are using this with increasing frequency.  In order to motivate employees to spend less than they were allotted for business trips, they created a game in which employees could save up unused amounts to receive cash back, donate to charity, or save up towards a future trip.  (Source)  Small business owners and direct sellers can use this same concept to motivate teams and increase sales.
  • Take to Twitter and Facebook.  Many companies are using gamification to increase awareness of themselves to prospective clients.  A simple way to do this would be to give away a free small sample. For every 20 new Twitter “retweets” or every Facebook “like”, you draw a name from the new likes or people who retweeted for the give-away. Doing so will keep customers coming back to your site, encourage them to seek out what’s new with your business, and drive them to recommend you to their friends.  Think of it as 21st century word of mouth.
  • Invite participation in your blog.  The fast-food chain Wendy’s recently created a short-lived game show on Twitter to promote a series of new items on its menu.  The game show gained a cult following for several reasons, including the mystery surrounding who was hosting it, but also because prizes were being given away for participating in various tasks.  Fellow tweeters were asked to post pictures of themselves in their funniest pair of socks, for example.  Consider using this method in your blog by creating a task and giving each participant one entry into a small giveaway.  Getting creative here will also draw more people to your blog and of course, your business.
  • Other game formats to explore. A scavenger hunt, Motto/Jingle contest, Wheel of fortune like – fill in the blank, and an old fashion riddle of the day contest. As you continue to explore using games and contests to generate engagement please check your social media site’s terms of service before installing a game. Most social media sites have rules you must follow or risk being removed from the site. For example, Facebook requires that you use a third party service like Wildfire to administer any contest on its platform.

When integrating games into your business, keep in mind your objective, audience, and reward systems.  You need not spend exorbitant amounts of money to gamify; start simple with the plethora of free resources found all around the internet and build out from there.  And most importantly, have fun!  That is what gaming is about, after all.  What ideas do you have for gamification? Share them with us in the comments section below!